One in 10 female third-level students in Netherlands has been raped – report

Amnesty research finds educational institutions not doing enough to help the victims

One in 10 female third-level students in the Netherlands has been raped, usually by someone she knows or has met before, according to a report which also finds that educational institutions are not doing enough to help the victims.

The report, carried out for Amnesty International by research company I&O, surveyed 1,000 students at all academic levels. It found that one in 100 male students had been raped.

"What's most shocking is that so many students are becoming the victims of rape in such a short period of their lives, typically the three or four years while they're studying", said Dagmar Oudshoorn, director of Amnesty Netherlands.

“These students, predominantly young people, should be enjoying a period of educational development and self-fulfilment instead of having these traumatic experiences that can damage them for the rest of their lives.”


Dutch law defines rape as sexual assault involving force or violence. However, pending new legislation will define all non-consensual sex as rape, with a jail term of nine years. The test will be whether it can be shown that the perpetrator knew the victim did not want sex.

The research shows that only a small percentage of the students assaulted were aware of who they should approach in their educational institutions to help them in the immediate aftermath.

Just three per cent said they had reported the assault to a university mentor, while 40 per cent said they told nobody about what had happened.

Significant gap

"While of course universities and colleges are not responsible for the rape, they could certainly do more to help the victims and to create an environment where this is unacceptable", said Amnesty's Martine Goeman in a radio interview.

“That is particularly true because in the majority of cases the attackers were known to the victims, from a party or a date, for instance. We are not talking about strange men hiding in the bushes.”

The research also showed a significant gap between male and female respondents when it came to their perceptions of the circumstances surrounding assaults. For example, 37 per cent of young men, as against 25 per cent of young women, believed a woman was more likely to be raped if she wore “sexy” clothing.

Twenty-three percent of men, as against eight percent of women, said they believed a woman who had had multiple sexual partners was more likely to be raped. And six per cent of males, as against two per cent of females, said they believed a kiss after a date meant there was consent to sex.

In Britain, a report by the education regulator, Ofsted, warned on Thursday that sexual harassment had become "normalised" among school-age children.

Peter Cluskey

Peter Cluskey

Peter Cluskey is a journalist and broadcaster based in The Hague, where he covers Dutch news and politics plus the work of organisations such as the International Criminal Court